By: Amanda Stuermer
“Perhaps love is the most subversive act of all.”
I tend to hit the trail anytime I need to muse. Last week, I set out on the trail with a far too cluttered brain. 24 hour news outlets can be my worst enemy at times. I thought about the current political climate in the US and how our election decisions can and will ripple out and affect the rest of the world. I thought about all the hatred, fear, racism, and separatism that suddenly seem so prevalent and that I, sadly, seem so powerless to fight. My thoughts weighed me down. They made it hard for me to breath. I felt small and constricted.
At mile 1, I suggested to my husband that we do a shorter loop than planned.
“Don’t think about how long the run is, just keep going.” he said.
Once again, I was reminded of how much running mirrors life. Some of my simplest, yet most profound, truths come from the trail:
- You don’t have to go fast to go far.
- When you’re tired, learn to rest not quit (thanks, Bansky).
- Every run begins with one step.
- Pay attention to what’s ahead of you rather than what’s behind.
- Stay in your own lane.
- Choose running partners who make you laugh, make you think, and make you go further than you would alone.
I recently traveled to Zambia with a group of women who would make wonderful running partners. Our group included executives, philanthropists, organizers, journalists, athletes, teachers, students, and Gloria Steinem. Yes, that Gloria Steinem. Together, we visited local villages and met women and girls who are working to create better lives for themselves, for their families, and for their communities despite the many challenges and issues they face. We spoke with political leaders and NGO directors about finding solutions to those challenges and issues. Upon returning home, we’ve stayed connected and are working together to fund some of those very solutions. It was a life-changing trip to be sure. Any experience that deepens our awareness of the world, strengthens our connection to others, and allows us an opportunity to utilize our resources in a way that promotes positive change definitely has the power to transform us.
At mile 2, I knew I needed some transformative thinking to keep me going, so I let my mind wander back to our time in Zambia, replaying conversations, letting my thoughts linger on the many gems of wisdom and inspiration that were shared with me. Then, I found just the one I was looking for.
“When you bring powerful women together all sorts of subversive things can happen.” ~ Gloria Steinem
Sub·ver·sive as an adjective means seeking to subvert an established system. It is disruptive and revolutionary. As a noun, it describes a subversive person. One who is a renegade or a rebel.
I kept running as I contemplated what sort of disruptive, revolutionary things I could make happen. What could the rebel in me do to subvert this growing system of prejudice and bigotry? I am complete quote-junkie and these questions led me to one of my favorite all-time quotes from Martin Luther King.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
At mile 3, it hit me: perhaps love is the most subversive act of all. What if I gathered together all of the powerful women I knew and we just loved our asses off? How much hate could we drive out with our love revolution? I remembered the incredible women I met in Zambia - those who were my traveling companions and those we met along the way. I remembered how it felt to come together with women from other parts of our country and other parts of our world to find our commonality, our shared desire to create positive change. That is love. I thought of all the amazing women I’ve had the privilege of connecting with through World Muse and how it feels to be part of a community that believes in the enormous potential of women and girls. That is love. I thought about my Oiselle flock, all the awesome women who are pushing themselves to go further both on or off the track. I remembered yet another quote from one of my Oiselle Muse sisters:
“When we can spread our own wings and take flight, we experience freedom. We can spread our wings and fly with others, we experience harmony.” ~ Jill Catherine
When we fly with others, we experience harmony. That is most definitely love.
At mile 4, I was flying. All the heaviness that had weighed me down at mile 1 was gone. It had indeed been driven out by love. I made a promise to myself to be as rebellious as I know how to be by loving bigger, by disrupting all of the hatred, fear, racism, and separatism in my newsfeed with messages of love, hope, acceptance, and connection, and by bringing powerful women together to make all sorts of subversive things happen. Who’s in?
Head Up, Wings Out,
- Amanda Stuermer
More On Oiselle Muses:
Introducing: Oiselle Muses